Srinagar: A centuries old Baital Bhairo Temple in the highly-sensitive area of Srinagar, which was closed after most pandits were forced to migrate to Jammu and other parts of the country due to militancy in 1990, was reopened on Thursday.
After the reopening of the temple, Jogi langar (the canteen where food is served for sadhus) in Rainawari area - the locality in the heart of old Srinagar city that was once home to a high number of Kashmiri pandits - is again reverberating with the sound of temple bells after 27 long years.
After the migration of Kashmiri Pandits, the property of the temple was illegally sold by Dharmatma Trust to a local real estate dealer. However, when residents in the area came to know about it, they informed Kashmiri Pandits, who responded with swift legal action and the area was recovered from the property dealer.
Kashmiri pandits, who visited the temple, were greeted by the locals and together they cleaned its premises before offering prayers. It was an emotional moment for most as they reunited with their old neighbours.
Some of the Kashmiri Pandit families, who did not migrate during militancy, have formed a group to look after temples in Kashmir. They have formed an organisation by the name of KPSS.
According to KPSS (Kashmiri Pundit Sangarsh Samiti), there were 583 temples in Kashmir before militancy set in. Of these, 532, including the 52 which disappeared without a trace, were damaged in different militancy-related incidents.
KPSS has decided to approach mosques for help to reopen temples.